Jobs Act Offers Hope for Urban Schools

When superintendents from across the nation gathered last month for the Council of the Great City Schools’ fall meeting in Boston, one critical topic for discussion was the devastating effect that our struggling economy has had on school budgets.

School leaders spoke about the difficult decisions they have had to make, and about the budget cuts that threatened teacher jobs, halted badly needed renovation projects, and curtailed services and instruction for students.

Four superintendents from different parts of the country – Mary Ellen Elia of Tampa, Fla., Winston Brooks of Albuquerque, N.M., Gene T. Harris of Columbus, Ohio, and Carol Johnson of Boston – spoke on camera, and they agreed that the American Jobs Act’s proposed funding for teachers and modernizing facilities offers real hope to urban schools. In September, President Obama called on Congress to invest $60 billion in education through the Jobs Act. America’s educators are still waiting.

“There’s just nothing more important, nothing more important today than investing in public education,” Superintendent Johnson said. “I think all of us expect more from this nation, and I think that funding education is absolutely key to our success.”

Watch Hope for Urban Schools:

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.


  1. Each of the leaders sound hopeful, believing this money is the answer. There are many school districts that can be looked upon as examples of what money can do. Who knows where to start first? The hope is that the community interworkings, the fabric, will endure necessary growth and change.

  2. As I come from an urban school, I feel that I can fully sympathize with this blog post. My high school lacked significant funding in educational areas and increased funding for security purposes. I was never able to dissect an animal in any of my science classes; I took honors classes, but was never able to get college credits for those classes; I saw fights in the hallways at least once a week; there were always at least two police officers stationed inside my school; and on one occasion I saw a police officer taser a student.

    To see leaders of schools coming together to talk out political issues that will affect them is encouraging. The comment made by Superintendent Johnson that, “There’s just nothing more important, nothing more important today than investing in public education… I think all of us expect more from this nation, and I think that funding education is absolutely key to our success.” could not have been put better. If there is less funding for education in public schools there is less inspiration for young people in public schools leading to loss of interest and their fall back into ‘the cycle’.

    I remain pessimistic that even a piece of the American Jobs Act will pass, when Congress can hardly pass a budget to keep our government’s lights on. Yesterday, we saw the ‘super committee’ on the deficit fail to come to terms on a single issue that could help our financial problems.

    I would not like my words to be misunderstood; I am in favor of the American Jobs Act. I do believe that it could jump start our economy from the bottom up, however, I remain pessimistic that it will ever pass for partisan, and fiscal reasons. I believe the American Jobs Act should be and will be a key issue in the upcoming election.

    • America is made of the people lets us do the good and right thing for our country!!!!!!

      As Ghandi stated: we must be the change we expect to see.
      I applaud your efforts!! I was told after obtaining 250 college credit hours that I neede to go to college two more years for a Bachelor degree!! Obviously we as consumers of education must be more aware, more vigilant, more in touch with the requiremnts the DOE has set forth so we may progress, not just for ourselves as individuals, but for ourselves as a nation, and as humanitarians.

      How about programs where students in classes that are poorly budgeted, how about bring and bus thoses students to the universities and present them to the laboratories, age appropriate of course under strict supervision of the universities in conjunction with the school districts and other private and charter schools thereby enhancing socialization, accountability, reduction of redundancy and simultaneously, offering the university level teacher students the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of pedagogy while under the supervision of the University professors???

      This can be done with all disciplines and fields.
      Additionally there are numerous sites online for virtual labs.
      If students don’t have their own internet at home, how about the public libraries??
      Here in El Paso Students get reduced bus fare anyway!!!
      There are ways to overcome the obstacles!!! There are plenty of education advocates and support groups!! Be optimistic!!!!
      Stay within the law AND BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!
      Jeri Hallberg Harmon, M. Ed

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